7 Powerful Women in Nollywood
In recent times, women have been playing huge roles in the progress of the Nigerian film industry. On like the formative years of Nollywood, women, are now spearheading the telling of the Nigerian stories.
Women in Nollywood, this decade, are fueling the passion and attention of movie lovers to the film industry. Most of the successful films in the last decade have had women as producers, directors and writer.
We certainly have Amaka Igwe to thank for the strides women now make in the Nigerian film industry. Her emergence in the 1990s made the possibility of women making an impact in the men-dominated industry.
While Hollywood is lamenting the decline in the involvement of women in successful Hollywood films, Nigerian female filmmakers have been breaking boundaries.
Though there are a lot of women presently doing great things in Nollywood, I have decided to limelight seven of these powerful female filmmakers in the industry. They are arguably the most powerful female folks in the industry.
Mo Abudu, 55, is described as Forbes’ “African most Successful Women”. The CEO of Ebony Life TV and presenter of the world acclaimed “Moment with Mo” ventured into film production in 2015 After she founded Ebony Life Films. Her first film “Fifty” was well accepted. Mo Abudu came to filmmaking scene prepared to tell solid stories.
Names among the top 25 powerful women in Global Television by Hollywood Report in 2013, Abudu, recently, became the first African to chair the international Emmy Awards
The latest film by her production company, “Your Excellency” will grace the cinemas this December.
Described by Oprah Winfrey as the Robert Julia of Africa, Genevieve Nnaji has stamped her presence in the Nigerian film industry, and she is about to go nowhere. Genevieve, who started acting at the age 8, has featured in over 200 films. She is the proud winner of numerous awards.
Her Debut production in 2015, “Road to Yesterday” was the winner of the “Best Movie Overall – West Africa” at the 2016 African Magic Viewer Choice Awards.
Genevieve Directorial debut movie, “Lionheart” is the first Netflix original from Nigeria. “Lion Heart” broke another record as the first film Nigerian submission for the Oscars. She reported made 3.8 Million Dollars from Netflix. Unfortunately, the film was disqualified for failing to meet certain requirements.
Zulu is a Filmmaker, Writer and content creator. She is a trained lawyer, and co-founder of Inkblot Productions, Her production company is responsible for some of the high grossing film, including ‘The Arbitration’, ‘Out of Luck’, ‘The Department’ and the web series ‘Knock Knock’.
Zulu company in collaboration with EbonyLife, FilmOne and Koga produced “The Wedding Party”, which is currently the highest-grossing film in Nigeria.
Kemi Adetiba is a perfect epitome of a powerful woman. She started her journey into the media space as a young child, where she headlined two national television commercials for the iconic detergent brand OMO.
Kemi Adetiba started off as a Radio and Television presenter before she moved into Music Video Directing and television production.
In other to ensure a smooth transition to filmmaking, the storyteller attended the New York Film Academy to study filmmaking.
Adetiba’s short films, “A bloodied Ocean” was screened at the 2009 Pen African Film Festival and National Black Arts Festival. She directed and produced two films which are among the top ten highest-grossing movies of all times in Nollywood. The films include, “The Wedding Party” and “King of Boys”.
She is a recipient of numerous awards for her music videos and films. She won the 2019 HNWOTY Award for Woman of the Year in Film and Television. She is indeed a force to reckon with in Nollywood.
Mary Remmy Njoku
Mary Njoku is an actress, director and Producer. She is the wife of Jason Njoku, the CEO of Iroko TV. The serial entrepreneur is believed to have featured in over 100 Nollywood movies. She came to limelight after featuring in a popular Nollywood blockbuster ‘Blackberry Babes’ in 2011. She is the Director-General of the award-winning Lagos-based film house, ROK Studios. ROK Studios launched two new channels, ROK2 and ROK3, to meet the growing demand of ROK on DSTV.
Since its launch in 2013, ROK has produced over 540 films and 25 original TV series, including “Festac Town”, “Single Ladies Body language”, “Losing Control” and “Husbands of Lagos”.
She held her first world premiere for her film “Thy Will Be Done” at the BFI IMAX London, the first-ever Nollywood film premiere in IMAX.
Many Njoku is indeed a big fish in the big river of Nollywood. Her investment in Television and films has made her the richest actress in Nigerian.
Funke Akindele is an actress, director, producer and businesswoman. She started her acting career in 1998 but got her big break in 2008, when she appeared in the movie, Jenifa. She is the CEO of Scene One Production.
She plays the lead character in the show Jenifa’s Diary, for which she was named Best Actress in a Comedy at the 2016 Africa Magic Viewer’s Choice Awards
Funke’s production company is responsible for one of the most successful television series in Nollywood, “The Jenifa’s Diary”. She and her husband, JJC Skillz, are also responsible for series such as “Industreet”, “Aiyetoro Town”, “My siblings and I” to name a few.
Her Directorial Debut, “Your Excellency”, produced by EbonyLife Film, will be released in the Cinemas this December.
Tope Oshin is a versatile storyteller. She is a Nigerian television and film director, producer and casting director. She studied Theatre Arts, TV & Film Production at Lagos State University. Her passion for filmmaking prompted her to go further to study Film Production, and Cinematography at Colorado Film School of the Community College of Aurora, Denver, and Met Film School, Ealing Studios, London respectively.
Tope was listed as one of “9 Nigerian female movie directors you should know” in the Nollywood film industry by Pulse. She is known for directing popular African TV dramas and soap operas such as Hush, Hotel Majestic, Tinsel (TV series) and Season 6 of MTV Shuga.
As a producer, she has been involved in some of the most successful film projects including the “Fifty”, “The Wedding Party 2”,
Her production company, Sunbow Production was commissioned to produce Season 8 of MTV Shuga (TV Series), dubbed MTV Shuga Naija 4, and is credited as Head Director, Showrunner, Executive Producer and Producer, after directing and casting Season 6 of the show in 2017.
She has directed some of the finest movies in Nollywood, they include, “Up North”, “New Money”, “Journey to self” and other award-winning films.
The producer, in a bid to celebrate female filmmakers doing great things in Nollywood, produced a documentary, “Amaka’s Kin – The Women Of Nollywood” as part of the BBC 100 Women season.
Tope has served as a juror for the International Emmy Awards since 2015.